Built in the late 1930s during fascist rule, the initiative was devised to inject some life into the Italian film industry.
And that it did.
The backlot sets at Cinecitta Studios — Photo courtesy of HeartRome
During World War II, the studios were bombed and even used as a camp to house displaced people.
The post-war rebuild saw award-winning and household name films like Ben Hur and Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita, still to this day one of the most classic titles associated with Italian film and pop culture around the world.
In fact, during the 1950s there were so many international productions being shot here that Cinecitta became known during the period as "Hollywood on the Tiber."
In the late 1990s, the studios became the focus of another Hollywood blockbuster: Martin Scorses' Gangs of New York. And with Italy's current economic climate, the country is proving to be an economic option for filmmakers worldwide even today.
For example, Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson spent most of spring in town filming the latest installment of Zoolander.
Cinecitta Studios — Photo courtesy of HeartRome
The Cinecitta Studios is open to the public, with tours of the backlots running daily and a permanent exhibition, Cinecitta si Mostra ("Cinecitta on Show"), that depicts and showcases the history of film.
The exhibition can be viewed with or without a guided tour, and it's open daily, except for Tuesday, from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Entry is €10 for adults and €9 for children. With the guided set tour, it's €20 for adults and €15 for children. There are special prices for seniors and packages for families, too.
There's a cafe on site for coffee, refreshments and light snacks, plus a shop corner with Cinecitta film memorabilia and souvenirs.
Not far from the studios is Cinecitta World – a movie-themed amusement park opened in July 2014. Designed by Academy Award winner Dante Ferretti, it's located approximately 25 kilometers from Cinecitta on another historical site that was used for filming in the 1960s by the late Italian film producer Dino de Laurentiis (of King Kong and U571 fame).
The park features film sets, amusement rides, shows and restaurants.
Entry costs start at €31 for adults and €19 for children, with a range of packages (even including Rome hotel stays) and special prices for seniors and groups. There's a €10 per person round-trip shuttle service from the center of Rome, which departs Termini Station at 9:30 a.m. daily and the amusement park at 6:15 p.m.
Fun for all ages and especially for film buffs, Cinecitta Studios and Cinecetta World are two unique things to do in Rome, and a great reason to get away from the city hustle and bustle for a day.